“Rango” is the most bizarre animated movie I’ve ever laid my eyes on. And I mean this in a good way, because I’ve never seen anything quite like it before, and I enjoyed every second of it. The trailer had almost completely left out any kind of plot hint, which I now realise was a very fine decision. The film’s entire concept relies on the absurdity of its central character, a peculiar and delusional pet lizard called… well we never actually find that out to be honest (obviously a reference to Eastwood’s “The Man With No Name” character). Aching for companionship, he survives the days using his weird imagination to act out plays and create scenarios using a clockwork fish, and a decapitated doll. When he suddenly falls from a moving car and lands in the Mojave desert, our lizard wanders into a desolate town called “Dirt”, and improvises a persona for himself as a western hero (thus his fake name “Rango”). And much to his surprise (and ours actually), he winds up becoming the local sheriff! It soon becomes clear that not all is well in this quiet little town, and that pretty soon Rango is going to be called into action.
“Rango” worked for me because of its fresh originality, and because it refuses to follow the same clichéd rule of children animated films. It ditched the 3D and decided to stick to 2D instead (such a wise decision). I found myself experiencing a very unique take on westerns, while at the same time noticing plenty of references and homages to them. One of the film’s best and most affecting scenes has our hero hitting rock bottom after being exposed as a fraud. He has a run in with the “Spirit Of The West”, an instantly recognizable character (hint: Clint Eastwood), who gives him an advice about being tough and walking tall on the path you’re given. This is an emotional moment, and an amazing tribute to every Western flick ever made (now that’s what I call “movie magic”!). Fans of Johny Depp will enjoy his voice work on the crazy Rango aswell. But it’s obvious that everyone involved in this movie is having a good time, including Bill Nighy as the gruesome rattlesnake Jake.
“Rango” is definitely one of the smartest movies I’ve seen so far this year, and I hope you find as funny and fresh as I did. Hats off amigo!
Categories: The Twenty-First Century